Finalists Announced For 2016 Awards

January 17, 2017

Lifetime Achievement Award

Awarded annually to one living individual for outstanding long-term contributions to ETF investor outcomes, whether from a position of media, regulation, product provider, investor or other category. Previous winners are not eligible.

  • Rob Arnott, Founder & Chairman, Research Affiliates: One of the central drivers of the smart-beta revolution, nominations noted that Arnott has “consistently challenged conventional wisdom” and “pioneered the concept of Fundamental Indexing” while “looking out for investor results.”
  • Reggie Browne, Senior Managing Director, ETF Group, Cantor Fitzgerald: Dubbed “The Godfather of ETFs” by Forbes, Browne has been at the center of providing liquidity in the ETF industry for many years. More than that, however, nominations noted how he “has consistently expanded the user base of ETFs through education and outreach.”
  • Henry Fernandez, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, MSCI: 99% of ETF assets today track an index. With Fernandez at the helm, MSCI has consistently led the charge on creating new and innovative exposures, playing a key role in the evolution of factor ETFs, ESG and other critical themes.
  • Jim Ross, Executive Vice President, SSGA; Chairman of Global SPDR Business; Chairman of the Board, SSGA Funds Management: Multiple heartfelt nominations poured in for Ross, who has been at the center of the ETF industry since its inception, having worked on the launch of the original ETF, SPY. Nominations held out his “leadership,” “character,” “integrity” and “overall contributions,” including not just leading the SPDR, Select Sector SPDR and Diamonds efforts, but acting as chairman of the ICI’s ETF Committee and more.
  • Gus Sauter, former Chief Investment Officer, Vanguard: Sauter was a legend at Vanguard. He arrived at the firm when it had $1.4 billion in assets, and left when it had $615 billion, and played a key role in bringing Vanguard into the ETF world.

ETF of the Year – 2016

Awarded to the ETF that has done the most to improve investor opportunities and outcomes in 2016, by providing access to interesting areas of the market, lowering costs, delivering new exposures or otherwise creating better results for investors. There is no requirement for this award regarding when this fund was launched.

  • Fidelity Total Bond Fund (FBND): The nomination case for Fidelity’s actively managed total bond fund was simple: It crushed its benchmarks and its peers, outperforming 97% of its peer group in 2016.
  • Goldman Sachs ActiveBeta U.S. Large Cap Equity ETF (GSLC): The cheapest smart-beta ETF on the market, GSLC attracted nominator attention by offering quant-active exposure for just 0.09% in annual fees. Investors rewarded it with more than $1 billion in net flows.
  • iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (HYG): With more than $3 billion in net inflows, HYG is the poster child for the massive rise in interest in bond ETFs in 2016, particularly among institutional investors.
  • VanEck Vectors Fallen Angel High Yield Bond ETF (ANGL): Nominees loved the simple investment rationale for ANGL … and the fact that it worked wonders. The fund, which buys debt that has recently been downgraded from investment grade to junk, performed beautifully in 2016.
  • Vanguard Total Market Index Fund (VTI): A perennial favorite of the nominating committee, VTI wins plaudits for being a near-perfect ETF, offering broad exposure, excellent tracking, extreme liquidity and a low price.


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